The Crieff and Strathearn area of Perthshire lies near the centre of mainland Scotland and includes the towns and villages of Auchterarder, Braco, Comrie, Crieff, Lochearnhead, Muthill and St Fillans.
Auchterarder is situated with the Ochil Hills and Gleneagles to the south and Strathearn to the north. The town is laid out with a long main street giving it the nickname of the Lang Toon .
Alexander II granted the canons of Inchaffray rights over Auchterarder in 1227. Edward I of England spent a night in Auchterarder Castle during his 1296 invasion of Scotland. In 1328 Robert I (Robert the Bruce) granted Auchterarder to the Montifex family, from whom it passed by dowry to the Drummond family.
Auchterarder has played a role in Scottish Religious events. Mary of Lorraine negotiated the Treaty of Perth from Auchterarder in 1559. By its terms John Knox gained the first State recognition of Protestantism in Scotland. In 1834 the members of the Church in Auchterarder began what was to lead to a split, The Disruption, in the Protestant Church of Scotland for almost a 100 years.
Within easy striking distance of Scotland's rugged West Coast and the fishing ports on the East, visitors are within twenty miles of real wilderness country, yet just over an hour's drive from the bustling, vibrant heart of Glasgow and the sedate elegance of Edinburgh.
If bird-watching is your thing, the whole district of Auchterarder is rich in bird life for the keen ornithologist. Both Song and Missel Thrushes can be seen in numbers as can winter visitors, Fieldfare and Redwing. Other common birds in the area are :
- Pied Wagtail,
- Sparrow Hawk,
- and the occasional Peregrine.
In addition we have all the warblers - Willow and Garden plus the lesser and rarer White Throat Warbler. Down by the Lochy Burn the occasional Grasshopper Warbler can be seen. Swifts, Martins and Swallows are common to the area, as are the Curlew, Oyster-catcher, Lapwing and Heron.
Dippers were once to be seen bobbing up and down on the Lochy Burn. The new bypass may have frightened off this naturally shy bird; there have been no sightings recently. Snipe also used to be seen regularly down by the marshy ground near Coal Bore, but again, they have not been seen for some years. It is worth keeping an eye open for their return. Resident species include Long Tailed Tit, Fly Catcher, Goldfinch, Wood-pecker, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Sparrow Hawk, Buzzards and Hen Harrier.
We also have regular visits from members of the crow family - Rook, Carrion Crow and Jackdaws in abundance, with Jays fairly widely spread over the area. There are many migratory visitors using Auchterarder as a re-fuelling stop during their annual migration. Duck, Geese and most unusual of all; a Black-Stork which stayed on the River Earn near Dalreoch for most of the 1984/85 winter. Many visitors came to see the birds which stayed with us for a considerable period.
Perthshire is a paradise for the golfer, with courses to suit every level of player and a few to test the skills of some professionals! Auchterarder is also home to Gleneagles, Scotland's foremost luxury hotel, internationally renowned for outstanding service, accommodation and of course, golf! Take a look at our Golf Pages, for information on local courses.
During the 1830's many Auchterarder families emigrated to Delhi, New York State, where today their ancestors still maintain a strong link with our town.
The great Covenanter and royalist James Graham, Marquis of Montrose, spent his boyhood at Kincardine Castle and the family burial ground where "gallant Grahams are lying low", is by the neighbouring village of Aberuthven.
In the 11th century Auchterarder was the seat of a fine hunting lodge for King Malcolm Ceannmor, the castle is now a ruin.
Having risen from the ashes of the Jacobite 'burnings' of 1715, the town became the centre of the Perthshire weaving industry.
Auchterarder is now a thriving rural town with lots to offer the visitor and traveller.
Blackford, which lies at the foot of the Ochil Hills, has been famous for centuries for the quality of it's water. At one time there were three breweries here (including Scotland's first public brewery) which drew upon the abundant spring water of the area. Today, water from the same source is bottled at two plants for sale throughout the world.
Dunning is a typical Perthshire settlement with an attractive blend of old and new. The 12th-century Norman Tower of St Serf's Church dominates the village, which is laid out in a traditional pattern around the church. The Battle of Duncrub was fought to the north of Dunning and the fascinating history of the Rollo family are all part of Dunning's rich history.
To the west is Maggie Wall's monument, which commemorates the burning in 1657 of the said lady as a witch. A thorn tree in the centre of the village is a memorial to the burning of the village in 1716 by the retreating Jacobites.